Great Winter Gifts

November 9, 2011

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It’s raining and snowing today in Iowa – with a nasty windy making the weather even less pleasant.  Winter is right around the corner.  Winter is my least favorite time of the year, but there are some creature comforts that can help get you through the winters.  Here’s a list of items you might consider giving to loved ones as a winterizing gift.

(Disclosure: we earn a commission on the sale of any of these items).

A Kindle.  Whether it’s the $79 model (at left) or the high end $199 Kindle Fire, spending long hours curled up on the couch reading on a Kindle is great way to pass time when there’s a blizzard howling outside.  If you’re not sure which model to buy, I gave my thoughts in a previous article.

If you’re the frugal sort, you can justify the cost by looking at the vast amount of public domain works you can download for free.

While you’ll pay more for a Kindle version of a book than used paperback, you can also tote around hundreds of books on a Kindle – much lighter than a backpack filled with the paper version.  Also easier on the environment.

If you’re looking for a good book to get you started, I’d suggest Lawrence Block’s short story collection, Enough Rope.  This is a massive tome with lots of great stories.  I already own hardcover and paperback versions, and am tempted to buy the Kindle version.

An electric blanket.  Blanket + Heat = Good.
Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns.  Nothing screams “warm weather’ like baseball.  Watching this 20+ hour miniseries might make you forget that it’s cold outside.
Portable DVD player.  Want to watch movies without disturbing everyone else?  Nab a battery-powered DVD player.
Or, if you have money burning a hole in your pocket, you can drop $2500+ on a 65 inch 3D TV.  Hey, it’s currently $400 off, so you’re basically making money when you buy it.
I stubbornly cling to the belief that I should be able to remove the season’s snowfall with nothing more than a shovel.  If you’re not bound by such convictions, a snow thrower makes life much easier.  You can spend a little money ($99 for the Toro snow shovel) or a lot ($2000 for a Husqvarna 27 inch two stage model with power steering).
Always have a set of jumper cables in the trunk of every car you own.  They should last for many years, so resist the temptation to buy the cheapest set.  Buy a good, heavy gauge set (lower number is better).
Unfortunately, the best jumper cables in the world are useless unless you can get a jump start from another car.  A portable jump-starter doesn’t have that limitation.  It’s a portable, rechargeable device that charges your battery from its own battery.  One caveat – make sure to keep it charged.

If you’re constantly having to get a jump start, verify that the problem is the battery (rather than some part of the charging system, such as the alternator) and get the battery replaced.  Most people can replace a battery themselves.  While a battery isn’t exactly cheap, trying to stretch the battery’s life to save a few dollars is a bad idea – as you’ll find out if you get stranded.  Over its life, a battery will likely cost you less than $20 per year.  If you have any concerns that the battery is dying, replace the sucker.

If you must be outside in the cold, some hand warmers might help you avoid freezing to death.  Buy the 40 pack and have enough to get you through the winter.  Well, through December, maybe.
Picked up a hoodie to stay warm.  With the race for the White House heating up after Christmas, a nice Electoral College themed hoodie might be appropriate.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lazy Man and Money
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 11:38:36

    “Hey, it’s currently $400 off, so you’re basically making money when you buy it.”

    *shakes head*


  2. kosmo
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 11:40:08

    I agree. But how often do you hear people make that sort of comment?


  3. Lazy Man and Money
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 11:44:30

    Not often from people who I respect ;-).


  4. kosmo
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 13:58:17

    I probably should have used the /sarcasm tag 🙂


  5. Cristian Balau
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 17:21:08

    The kindle touch seems like the best deal. I don’t really see the point of the kindle fire, I can also watch movies and listen do music on plenty other devices. I want just the e-reader, this is the future of the library.


  6. Squeaky
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 07:12:43

    Kos, the only positive thing about winter (other than skiing) is the cold that drives you and your spouse closer together. So…where is the lingerie (for her)? Thongs (for her)? Sex toys (for both)? 1 gallon of KY Liquid to pour over you and your spouse and then flop around like a couple of wet fish. Link those baby!


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